Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

This WordPress.com site confirms all things are possible through God!


Leave a comment

Make bad reviews work for you…

Good Tuesday morning! Let’s talk about reviews. Yes, I know, some say don’t read them. Some say read them. Me, I read them. But how do we react when we read them? Anger? Confusion? Laughter? Happy? Sad? There’s a lot of things that go through your head when you read reviews of your work. But I have a couple of things to discuss with you about them.

Make them work for you…

What am I talking about? Well, hear me out… Bad reviews can go two ways, one being they are just nasty and have no meaning for your writing, or two, they are well thought out reviews that can tell you something about the work.

Let’s talk about some ways to use bad reviews to make your work better. Here goes:

1: There are misspelled words and grammatical errors!

                We know that it doesn’t matter how many times your work is edited and even if it’s by the best editor out there, mistakes can be missed. I’ve read some of the bestsellers out there that have some mistakes that weren’t caught. SO, use that bad review as a reason to read through your work just one more time with a critical eye.

                Now, do remember, some people are not experts and what they think is a grammatical error, really isn’t. But, I still go back over my work, just in case I missed something, or my editor did. It’s worth the effort in the end. Especially if you get several reviews about the same problem.

2: The book was left on a cliffhanger!

                Ok, this one shocked me the first time I read it. When I read a book that’s part of a series, most of the time I expect a cliffhanger to get me to read the next one. Think about a series on television. They always leave you at the end of the season wondering what the heck just happened and what will happen next. The reason I put this one in my post is because if you get this and it bothers you, then insert a sentence in your description that says, ‘This book ends on a cliffhanger’. That way you don’t have to worry about a reader not understanding that it’s a series and can end on a cliffhanger.

3: The characters were not fleshed out…

                If you get this one, maybe look back at your work and see if you never described your main characters. I know that as a reader, I love to be able to picture the characters in my mind. I’ve received this type of review before and realized that I was so into writing the story, I never fleshed my character out. Yep, that was a facepalm moment for me. Go ahead and add a little description, because as a writer, you know in your mind that you have a picture in your mind of the character.

4: The book was too short… or This book was too long…

                Now this one took me by surprise. But yes, reviewers have opinions on the length of your book. There are those that don’t like them too long and those that don’t like them too short. My thoughts on this are, input in your description, at the end, ‘This is a novella’ or ‘This is a full-length book’. Maybe that little key point will stop some of those lower star reviews.

5: The story doesn’t flow well…

                Now this can be a problem if your story doesn’t flow well. My suggestion is to read the manuscript out loud and don’t do it as the writer, do it as a reader. Meaning, in your mind, you’re the reader wanting to be entertained by the story. Believe me, I do this with my books before I publish them and its eye opening. Sometimes I wonder what on earth was I thinking…

Now there are many more aspects of reviews to look at. Also look at the good ones. This keeps you motivated and let’s you know what your dedicated readers loved. Of course, there will always be those that give a bad review just to do it. I’ve had those.

If you do have a review that’s particularly nasty and doesn’t match your book, report it to the distributor whether it be Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes. I had one that mentioned characters that weren’t even in my book. I reported it to Amazon and the review disappeared. But I had one that didn’t represent my book and they didn’t take it down.

The moral of the blog is this, use even the bad reviews for good. Let them roll off your back and move forward. Now, if you get only bad reviews, then I would definitely take another look at the work. But hey, smile and keep writing. A writer has to have a thick skin. Sometimes when I get my work back from my editor, I have to thicken my skin and push through it. So, keep up the good work!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

And one last thing, sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date with all of my new releases, upcoming releases, and to get a FREE ebook!

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/c8f1clsu21


Leave a comment

When editing draws blood…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Good Monday morning! As writers, we have to make decisions that hurt. When editing our hard work, we have to cut out parts that took hours to type. But it’s necessary to make the manuscript flow. It hurts…

Not long ago, I was working on my manuscript and something felt wrong. But I couldn’t figure it out. The more I wrote into one part, the worse it felt. About three chapters into the bad feeling, I did something that most writers face, I deleted three whole chapters. I really think my fingers bled as I did it.

The fact was, once I deleted the three chapters and started back up writing, it felt right. Although I’d deleted over 6000 hard earned words, my manuscript started to flow again. It was worth the pain and agony of deleting those words.

Sometimes as writers, we do things that don’t make sense. We make mistakes, we correct them, then we move one. But there is one thing for certain, with every red slash of an editors pen, a little piece of us grows stronger. The editors red mark lets us know that the story goes on, even without the deleted words.

So, edit without mercy and write with intention. It’s in a writers blood to continue with the story. Never give up and never surrender even when the red slash of the editors pen rips your heart into pieces.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Here’s a link to the book I spoke of above. It hit the top 100 on Amazon in the first three days!

Sweet, Inspirational Romance…


Leave a comment

Authors & Rejection

It’s Saturday, a day to relax and enjoy life. So, before we get to the easy-going weekend, let’s talk about rejection. Ouch!

Every author has to accept rejection. It’s part of the job. But, it’s not always that easy. Rejection is also good for us. Yes, I said that, but it is a good thing. Sometimes rejection is just what the doctor ordered.

So, let me jump right into the explanation. When a manuscript is rejected, it should make us look into it more. With each rejection I’ve received, it made me relook at my manuscript with different eyes. Sometimes I find things I didn’t see before.

Now, with that being said, rejection hurts, but I read an article a while back that told how many rejections some of the biggest authors out there have received. Even their bestsellers that went mega-platinum were rejected a time or two before they were snatched up. So, that should give us hope beyond the rejection.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

close up photography of crumpled paper

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com


1 Comment

Who’s my worst critic? Me!

pexels-photo-850216.jpeg

Good morning! It’s a rainy Sunday here in Georgia.

So, who’s my worst critic? As I write, I edit. I know, that’s not supposed to be the way it works. I should write, then edit, but guess what? There’s something inside of me that as soon as a line is written if a word comes up as wrong, my brain says go back and correct.

But the worst thing is, I’ll write almost a full chapter, then turn around and erase it. Then a little way down the road into the manuscript, I wish I hadn’t done that. Even though it doesn’t work in that spot doesn’t mean it won’t in another. Of course by the time I figure that out, well, it’s gone.

The moment I type ‘The End’ is when the worst critic in me starts. Even a couple of my bestsellers still haunt me. I think of a line I used and how I could make it better. My editor constantly tells me to stop overthinking. But it’s like a bad habit that I can’t break. One of my books pulled at me so hard that I almost took it completely down, but since it gets a great response, I held back. (That didn’t stop me from printing the manuscript and going back over it.)

If a line bothers me, I’ll write it over and over, which takes valuable time out of my writing. Then I’ll break down and just go with it, which is what I need to start doing. Since my brain stays in autocorrect mode, this is hard to do. But, I’m learning to push that mode off.

So, are you the worst critic you have?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


2 Comments

What’s in a character?

Good Tuesday morning!

So, how do you form your characters? Do you develop them as the story goes forward? Or do you write a character sketch before putting the first word into the manuscript? In Scrivener, I always start out with a blank page for each character. Of course, I know basically who my character is. When I start a new manuscript, I develop their main character sketch, but what is included?

Name – Oh, this can take hours for me. I play with first and last name combinations. It’s crazy, but as a writer, I know that when the right combination comes across, it will pop. So, I scan name lists, Scrivener’s name generator, and even newspapers. Sometimes things just stand out.

Flaws – Ok, so maybe your main characters don’t have flaws, but I try to make mine less than perfect. Of course, my first books had perfect characters, but I want my readers to relate to my characters, so I add flaws. It could be as simple as having an attitude, but I make it a flaw at the time.

Looks – Does my character have blonde hair and blue eyes? That’s something important because you don’t want to suddenly say something about their auburn hair halfway through. You need to know what they look like or at least have an idea so that it stays consistent throughout the book.

Career – What does your character do? Are they a lawyer, doctor or maybe a rodeo king? It’s important to know this so that you can add elements of what they do to your character.

Hobbies – This is not as important as other attributes, but if it’s going to play a role in the book, then you need to remember if they knit or oil paint. Changing it midway can confuse the reader at times.

You may be saying, but why are these important? Every writer is different in how they do their work. For me, I like to get to know my characters. As I write, I like to know what my character might say or do and why. In Scrivener, I always have a character note that details things and I can add to it as things happen. Believe me, it helps to keep the process going forward.

So, how do you create your characters?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


3 Comments

Words on a page…

Good Saturday morning! I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving. Mine was wonderful. Now the Christmas season is officially in full swing, which excites me. This is my favorite time of year.

As for words, sometimes as a writer, the words are slow to come. It’s the dreaded ‘writer’s block’ that every writer fears. That happened this month with my Christmas book that’s being released in a very, very short time. The words were there, then I developed a horrible cold, needing medication which made my head go fuzzy. Well, the words came to a halt.

I sat with my fingers hovered over the keyboard, trying to form the story that was inside my head. I could see it, hear the characters screaming, but for some reason, the words wouldn’t come out of my fingers onto the screen. It can get frustrating when you’re up against a deadline and the words just seem to be within reach, but won’t come.

But then, as I lay awake, coughing like a crazy person, it all flowed in like a wave of a storm. The areas that I was unsure of, came rushing in. That’s when another problem reared its ugly head, I couldn’t type fast enough and my time became limited, with holiday preparations and life. But now, it’s on the page and almost ready for release day. Some stories come in like a lion, then others hold back, waiting until just the right moment to stream in.

The funny thing is, if I’d rushed the story, it wouldn’t be what it is. This story is such a sweet story and I know that taking the time to listen to my characters and taking a short break helped build the story.

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…Hideaway Lane Cover


Leave a comment

Perfect grammar… LOL!

Good Tuesday morning! This morning I have a wee bit of a rant. And you know I don’t rant often, but this morning I have to get this off my chest, so get ready and here we go…

As a writer we’re supposed to have perfect grammar, right? Well, I need to ask something. Do you always speak with perfect grammar? I read an article last week about your characters needing to have normal conversations and don’t make it too formal, but then writing 101 says to make sure you use perfect grammar. We don’t always in normal conversation talk in perfect grammar, so what are we supposed to do as writers?

So, I’m going rebel. What does that mean? Well, it means that I’m going to write my dialogue like I talk, which may make editors cringe, but I want my readers to enjoy the work I publish. I’ve had comments on previous work stating that it was too formal and normal people don’t talk like that, so I am going rogue…

Also, to further give my rant a purpose, I’ve read several books by famous, best-selling authors that use normal talk and they do well. Some are even horrible in the grammar department, but they are best sellers and the readers don’t seem to mind at all.

Now, with all of that said, I don’t mean using the wrong form of a word or wrong punctuation. I’m talking about in the dialogue between my characters, so don’t think I’m putting up my English 101 book.

Of course, this will make my editor happy.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 


Leave a comment

Friday writing…..

Good morning everyone! It’s Friday and I’m feeling ready for the weekend.  I know, I’ve been out of pocket for a little bit, but I’m back in the saddle. With several projects on the horizon, I’ve been focusing on those.

Speaking of juggling projects, as a writer, I’m constantly striving to better myself and my writing by taking courses, reading everything I can about it and checking out other author’s style of writing. It’s just the way I roll. So, in several articles lately, I’ve read that the first thing I need to do is write, then write some more. Everything stated that hitting a word count every day was important, so that’s what I’ve been working on. The only thing is since I run a busy accounting office, that leaves little time to blog or promote on social media like I need to.

I’ve always talked about my writing planner. It keeps me on track. But, for the last couple of years, I’ve pushed myself too hard and inflicted high daily word counts on my brain. Well, in one of the articles, it said to get real with yourself. It has actually helped me. I grabbed a new planner at the store and rewrote out my plan of attack. I’ve lowered my daily word count and it’s amazing the amount of work I’m able to do. This is my first week with the new counts, but I’m already seeing a huge difference. Even though my word count is lower, I can write more if I have time, but I’m not pushed into doing too much and putting myself in a bind.

So, are you pushing too hard? Try the lower word count requirement and see if you’re not more productive without the added pressure. It’s helped me.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…words


Leave a comment

Friday! Friday! Friday!

Good Friday morning! We made it folks, it’s Friday… Take a breath and know that the weekend is only hours away.

For me, I’m looking forward to some writing this weekend. Plus, my 30-year class reunion is tomorrow evening. Wow, have I been out of school for 30 years? I’m getting old…. Nah!

The final edits for Breakwater Lane are coming in today, which makes me smile. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost out. This morning I’m getting my word count in on Promises Forgotten. At the moment I’m deep in Indians and 1800’s Montana. I love being a writer. I can get lost in another world, if for a moment.

So, what are you planning this weekend?

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

 


Leave a comment

Creating a new series…

wishful harbor design

The birth of a new series is always fun and exciting, but scary all at the same time. Will it hold together for the number of books planned? Will the characters stay interesting or just lose interest?

With Wishful Harbor, I’ve thought of this for a while, a long while. I’ve had this series in my mind, but it wasn’t until I sat down and started mapping it out that I realized that it could work. And when I say mapped it out, I truly mean I drew a map of the town of Wishful Harbor. I placed each place that would take part in the series and put it in the front of the series notebook for reference.

There will be five books, each one can stand alone or work together. I’ve written a synopsis for each book, even named the main characters.

But, will it hold the test of five books?

The way that I’ve assured this is that each book can stand alone. That’s how I know it will hold together. Each story has its own world held within the little town of Wishful Harbor. Although there will be repeat characters, and there will be repeat locations, the main story and characters will lead the story. That’s what makes it work in this instance.

Keep looking out for the cover reveal for the first book in the series, ‘Breakwater Lane’. I’ll be doing a huge reveal blog and have some exciting things to give away. There will be a more definite date soon, but let’s just say, it’s coming soon…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…